If you are looking for the guide to Winsor 2 – CLICK HERE
I have been considering this past couple of weeks what the direction of this blog should be. Should it be my opinions on current affairs and how it impacts on the police? A funny but mostly sad rant about what ‘the Job’ has become? A news feed for officers looking to find information about the changes and how they are developing? Or a place where anyone, not just old bill, can come and learn how impartial policing, the thing we can be most proud of and the basis of our justice system, is being dismantled by the ignorant, arrogant, greedy, and selfish?
I have not yet decided. Maybe it’ll be a bit of everything. If anyone has an opinion on where they would like it to go, or has any specific questions about anything, please let me know and I will try and find out for you.
This blog has now had over 50,000 views. That’s not bad, but it’s far below what it needs to have to help make a difference. If you want to make a difference check out the ‘Breaking News’ post to see some simple things you can do to help our cause.
In the last couple of weeks there have been some interesting developments:
The Police Superintendents Association have had a sly dig at ACPO and the Winsor review, but it is not enough, they need to go further.
The Scottish Justice Secretary has called the Winsor proposals ‘Frankly Insulting’ and they are not implementing them north of the border. Well done Kenny MacAskill, PS any jobs going?!
“The only good bit of the Winsor Report, is on page 606, where he acknowledges that the affairs of Scotland are outside his terms of reference.”
The determinations arising from Winsor 1 have come into force, as announced by Home Office Circular 10-2012 on 16/04/2012, and are to be applied retrospectively, it appears, from the 01/04/2012. But no one can tell me whether -5s worked since 01/04 but before 16/04 will be paid at -5 or not?
Ian Rennie of the National Fed has written some strongly worded letters to Theresa May complaining, quite rightly, that the determination wordings for Winsor 1 differ from what was agreed at the PAT. This is a great example of the contempt with which Theresa May et al hold us in; trying to sneak things through under our noses. Despicable.
And I? Well, I have been doing a bit of digging on the pensions front.
An email went round work last year from someone talking about changes to the pension, how it’s going to be closed in 2015, we’ll all be put on a new one that’ll be crap etc etc etc. The Fed batted it off by saying there’s no proposals on the table yet, we don’t know what they are going to be, blah blah blah blah blah. Basically, you don’t know what you are talking about, stop worrying everyone!
This email has surfaced again recently with the increase to our contributions this month from 11% to 12.25% (for the 1987 scheme) so I thought I’d make some inquiries to use a well-worn phrase. (Is it inquiries or enquiries? I’ve never been able to decide?!)
I obviously run the risk of being accused of scaremongering here, so I’m going to choose my words carefully:
1) The Hutton review of public sector pensions recommends that our schemes (PPS & NPPS) are closed before the end of this parliament which is mid 2015 at the latest (but whatever we have accrued up to that point will be honoured – not very comforting if you have about 10 years service, well anything under about 25 years to be honest!), that a replacement scheme is brought in, and that the normal pensionable age for Police is changed to 60 (from 30yrs service or age 55 for PPS members, and 35yrs or 60 for NPPS members).
2) The Hutton report does not mention specifics such as will we get our accrued rights under the old scheme at 30/55 (for PPS) and 35 (for NPPS) but have to wait till 60 to receive benefits from the new one? Or will it all come at 60? Will it be staggered depending on age etc? As with everything, the devil is in the detail.
3) Winsor 2 agrees with Hutton’s recommendations, and the Government agree with both Hutton and Winsor 2.
4) Other public sector pensions are being changed from final salary to career average (which are generally worth less than a final salary scheme).
5) The AVC Scheme (additional voluntary contributions) for our current pensions were closed in 2010, so we can’t top them up with a bit extra.
6) Logica (pensions administrator for the Met Police) have put a stop on new recruits transferring their existing pension rights from other schemes into the police scheme. So PCSOs and civil staff (just about the only people being recruited into the police at the moment) joining the job since October 2011 have been unable to transfer any existing civil service pension into the NPPS. This is a very important, and telling, step in my opinion. Why would they be preventing this? Hmmmm!
7) On the 30/03/2012, a Parliamentary Standard Note, SN-0700, was sent round informing MPs of the details of the existing schemes. Timing’s a bit suspect isn’t it? Right in the middle of Winsor?
8) The Policy Exchange – a think tank including people like Blair Gibbs (he who suggested the moronic idea that police officers should travel to and from work in uniform. Erm, radio? CS Spray? baton? pay? All my neighbours – slag or not – knowing I’m old bill?!) – have been agitating for reform to police pensions for some time. Click here for their report about how expensive we all are, and how we can longer be afforded. They are a Tory leaning think tank with strong links to the current Government (Blair Gibbs was a senior policy advisor to Nick Herbert, now policing minister, and helped author the Conservative’s report on Police reform before they were elected, you know, around the same time Cameron made that speech that looking back at it sounds exactly like Winsor’s ‘independent’ review!)
So I think it is fair to say that the replacement of our pensions is probably underway, but we just haven’t found out about it yet.
In fact, there is proof that it is underway.
I have had a look at the treasury website and found a page of interest:
This is the page explaining some of the proposals for a future police pension scheme. What it shows is that the government have set out how much they want it to cost.
Dated 28/03/2012 in the first paragraph it explains that the Government have set the cost ceiling and that “The Home Secretary is currently consulting the Police Negotiating Board on the Government’s preferred scheme design.” So they are currently discussing the form it’s going to take.
It then goes on to give a couple of clues about the Government’s preferred scheme design “an accrual rate of 1/57th of pensionable pay and a normal retirement age of 60 (subject to regular review)” Currently in the PPS, the last ten years count double (2/60ths), in the new scheme this doesn’t seem to be the case. So if it remains at 1/57th for your whole service, although it might be fairer to those who don’t race up the promotion ladder towards the end of their service, it also means it will be worth quite a bit less. It is important to note ‘subject to regular review’. This means they’ll raise the age down the line again if they want to, doesn’t it?!
What the webpage doesn’t show, which I think is important to understand the few figures they have quoted, is the change in the cost to the employer, i.e. the police authority, and therefore by extension the tax payer.
The proposed cost ceilings are 14.3% to the taxpayer and 13.7% to employees.
Currently the cost to the taxpayer (met by the Police Authorities) is about 24%
So that’s a reduction in cost to the taxpayer of about 40%, give or take a few percentage points. Remember, I’m just a thick copper so I can’t work it out precisely.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like quite a large reduction to me. Surely this sort of reduction in cost must have a significant impact on the benefits such a scheme would bring compared to the existing ones?
It also says the consultation period will conclude on the 22nd June 2012.
The Police Negotiating Board have a staff side, members of the Fed sit on it. The Home Secretary is discussing the Government’s preferred scheme design with the PNB. It’s there in black and white.
I think we should all be going to our Fed reps and hassling them, harassing them, for information about this, and demanding they send our opinions up the chain, and ultimately to the staff side of the PNB. This is our long term future we are talking about here. It’s not a few quid in your back pocket for working nights, or time and half instead of double. Don’t take ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Let’s wait and see’ for an answer.
For me, it’s my whole life plan. I decided not to do things early on life and planned to do other things when I retired. In between I decided to be a public servant, but now I realise I should have been selfish and done something else which would have earned me a lot more money so I could have retired just as early if not earlier. Become an MP perhaps? Cabinet ministers have just had their pensions increased. INCREASED. I don’t want to say what I was going to, because it’s rude. Very rude. It begins with C and ends with…
What do you think?